By Yemi Oyeyemi, Abuja.
Bothered by police’s refusal to release a 14-year old held since February 5 this year, despite court order granting him bail, the family of the minor has taken its case to the National Assembly, the Police Service Commission (PSC), and the Inspector General of Police (IGP) for their intervention.
The family, in petitions written by its lawyer, Ishaka Dikko (SAN) and sent to the IGP; the Chairman, PSC; the Chairman, Senate Committee on Police Affairs, and the Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Police Affairs, wants them to prevail on the police to obey the order for bail made on February 24, 2021 by a Federal High Court in Lafia, Nasarawa State.
Dikko stated that the 14-year old,, an SS1 student of Jofaq International College, Lafia, Nasarawa State, was arrested on February 5, 2021 by police personnel from the “A” Division Police Station, Lafia, Nasarawa State on the allegation of rape of a girl at his residence.
He added that despite Master Anthony Udokwu’s denial that he never had carnal knowledge of the alleged victim, the police, allegedly acting on the directive of Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP) J. A. Idoku (OC Legal), transferred the case to the Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department (CIID) for further investigation.
The lawyer stated that despite efforts to have them grant bail to the minor, the police have continued to detain him at the CIID and allegedly subjecting him to all forms of torture even when he is unwell and had been treated, at the expense of his parents, at the Police Clinic in Lafia.
Dikko added that as part of efforts to secure freedom for the detained minor, he later filed a fundamental rights enforcement suit before the Federal High Court, Lafia, marked: FHC/LF/FHR/4/2021, following which Justice Yellim Bogoro, in a ruling on February 24, 2021, ordered the release of the detained minor, an order the police has refused to obey.
He stated: “Despite the provisions of Section 217 of the Child Rights Law of Nasarawa State 2005 and the Child Rights Act 2003, all oral applications for bail of our client by his parents as well as by counsel, was ignored by the said Police CIID, Lafia under the directives of DCP Bappa Magaji Jahon and CSP J. A. Idoku Esq
“Regrettably, the O/C Legal, CSP J. A. Idoku Esq, an officer of the court and a lawyer duly called to the Nigerian Bar, who is ordinarily supposed to advised and ensure strict compliance with extant laws and orders of court, has remained complicit in ensuring that the Order of the Federal High Court is not complied with.
“While no citizen should condone any commission of crime especially the most heinous offence of Rape, again No citizen or any official Government or any Institution of Government should vilify or crucify any person suspected of commission “of crime without due compliance with the law even if it is the most dreaded and heinous offence of murder.
“Our client since the 5th day of February, 2021 has been in detention at the said Criminal Investigation Intelligence Department, Lafia Nasarawa State, despite all efforts for his bail and clearly because the father of our client could not afford to give the father of the alleged victim the sum of N500,000.00.
“Needless to say that, assuming without conceding that our client is culpable of the allegation, no father would afford to sell the womanhood of his daughter for money.”
The lawyer wants the IGP; the Chairman, PSC; the Chairman, Senate Committee on Police Affairs, and the Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Police Affairs to compel the police to ensure “the immediate release of our client in compliance with the order of the Federal High Court Lafia.”
He is also seeking the “investigation of all the officers involved in the violation of the valid order of court of competent jurisdiction, which ordered the release on bail of our client, who is a minor of 14 years, as well as the act of torture of our client.”
Dikko wants disciplinary measures taken against “the officers involved in accordance with the Police Act, as any officer found wanting, would have clearly breached the law and abused the most revered Police uniform, worn to defend the citizenry.”